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    Action Games

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    One of the most popular genres, action games come in all shapes and sizes. What are the most popular categories of these? Which franchises are the most popular? Sifting through them all can surely be a daunting task, so we’ve cooked up this nifty little guide to help you find the right action game for yourself.

    What are action games?

    Generally speaking, it’s a broad term which covers numerous different gameplay models and themes. All the sub-genres have one thing in common: they emphasize precision, quick aim, reflexes, and good hand-eye coordination. 

    The origins of action games can be traced back to 1970s and such releases as Gun Fight, Tank, Galaxy Game, Sea Wolf, and Computer Space. However, it was Space Invaders which propelled the genre to stardom and began the golden age of arcade.

    Action games were named as such later on, in the early 1980s. This decade saw the birth of many other sub-genres, including platform games, fighting games and beat ‘em ups.

    The 1990s brought even more revolutions. Modern first-person shooters and action-adventure games rose to prominence, paving the way for today’s technological advancements. Doom, Quake, Unreal, Tomb Raider, and so on – all these changed the gaming landscape for good.

    What are the most common sub-genres of action games?

    • Shooters are all about shooting all sorts of guns and ranged combat in general. You have first-person shooters, third-person shooters, rail shooters, light gun shooters, and so on. Most common themes include science fiction, as well as historical and modern conflicts. Examples include the Call of Duty series, 
    • On the other side of the spectrum are slashers: action games where melee combat is the main focus. These titles are usually referred to as hack and slash games these days. Examples: God of War, Devil May Cry, and the like.
    • Platform games are all about jumping from, well, platform to platform, avoiding obstacles and enemies. Examples: Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong.
    • Fighting games involve martial arts duels between varied combatants. The most popular franchises in this category include Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Street Fighter, and Super Smash Bros.
    • Beat ‘em up games are also based around martial arts and hand-to-hand combat, but they involve the player(s) fighting groups of enemies across various levels. Examples of these include the likes of Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles among others.
    • Action-adventure games blend combat with platforming, exploration, and puzzles akin to those found in traditional adventure games. Examples: Uncharted, Tomb Raider, and so on.
    • Action games have influenced other genres, including RPGs – action RPGs are a whole another category of these. You also have battle royales (games where numerous combatants fight until there’s only one player or team left) and survival games, which often feature robust combat mechanics, not to mention a whole lot of other interesting categories. There’s a whole lot to choose from.
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    Why are action games so popular?

    It’s quite simple: they’re adrenaline-inducing titles which are often easy to get into (but hard to master). Naturally, they favor the players with the best reflexes, but since there are different difficulty levels, everyone can try their hand at action stuff.

    A lot of these games are highly competitive in the multiplayer mode, too. This contributes to their unwaning popularity.

    Which are the best action games?

    We’ve mentioned a couple of examples above, but you might still be wondering which of the action games are considered to be the crème de la crème of the genre. We’ll list a few here.

    • Doom - This franchise dates back to 1993. It’s one of the games that defined the FPS genre. Today’s Doom (released in 2016) and its sequel, Doom Eternal, are some of the finest fist-person shooters around. They let you decimate demons, all to a hard-hitting soundtrack by Mick Gordon et al.
    • Uncharted - A fine blend of cinematic storytelling, platforming, puzzles, and cover-based combat, the Uncharted series is an excellent pick for all those who crave some good, old-fashioned adventures in the vein of Indiana Jones.
    • God of War - This excellent slasher franchise puts you in the shoes of Kratos, a Spartan warrior on his quest for revenge. His goal: kill the gods themselves! The latest additions to the series boast excellent melee combat, breathtaking visuals, and are based on Scandinavian mythology.
    • Battlefield - This series of first-person shooters is based on large-scale combined arms battles over various control points. So far it covered World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and modern conflicts. There’s even a military science fiction installment set in a rather distant future!
    • Assassin’s Creed - Ubisoft’s famous blend of stealth and action-adventure, the Assassin’s Creed series details a millennia-long conflict between the Knights Templar and the Order of Assassins. As a member of the latter, you fight against the Templar in a variety of historical periods, ranging from the ancient times through the Middle Ages to the 20th century. 
    • Horizon - They say it’s an action RPG, but in fact it’s more of an open-world action-adventure game boasting excellent battles with animal-like machines. Definitely one of the most unique post-apocalyptic titles on the market.
    • The Last of Us - Humans were mostly wiped out by a deadly fungus infection turning them into mindless and extremely dangerous zombies and the survivors must of course fend for themselves. A girl named Ellie might be the key to curing the disease. The Last of Us is a fine mix of action-adventure, stealth, survival mechanics, and dark, emotional, and cinematic storytelling.
    • Far Cry - Another flagship franchise of Ubisoft, Far Cry is now known as a series of open-world first-person shooters where you usually overthrow evil dictators of all sorts. Whether you just want to stick to the main campaign or explore everything each installment has to offer, Far Cry games will keep you occupied for dozens of hours.
    • Call of Duty - This one is pretty much the most popular first-person shooter franchise on the market. What started as a series of World War II shooters (and Medal of Honor killers, to boot) is now a massive collection of games which also include titles dealing with all sorts of modern conflicts. There’s even a bunch of military science-fiction installments!

    How can you choose the best action game for yourself?

    The suggestions above might help, but we totally understand if you don’t feel like playing any of these and would love to try something else instead.

    In this case, think of the theme and gameplay features that you would be interested in, read reviews, watch gameplay videos and so on. Be sure to check out the Action category on G2A.COM and look for some hot deals there!

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